Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire Fire sold vehicles 'unethically'

Fire engine

A fire service has been warned in a report of "unethical behaviours and potential fraud" in the way it disposes of its old vehicles.

The internal audit looked at policies and procedures within Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service following a number of whistleblower complaints.

It found one officer sold an engine worth £400,000 to a company without declaring payments to accountants.

Chief fire officer Wayne Bowcock said the report made "difficult reading".

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said the internal audit was commissioned following a number of complaints about how the fire service was run, and comes after the resignation of chief fire officer Stewart Edgar last year over the sale of a service-owned Land Rover.

'Security risk'

The unnamed employee, who sold the truck, which was worth £400,000 in 2007, also sold a fork-lift truck, the report said.

According to fire service policy, selling anything worth more than £10,000 has to be declared to the strategic finance department.

Income worth less than £10,000 can be kept by the fire service, the report added.

The internal audit also highlighted a "failure to obtain value for money" and a "security risk in respect of blue-light vehicles that have not been correctly disposed".

Mr Bowcock said they would be taking "decisive action against those that have fallen short of the standards expected of them" but said they were unable to "go into the detail of individual cases".

He said: "The audits were carried out into historical practices to identify where there were weaknesses in policies and process.

"We have developed an action plan, which we are already implementing, to ensure all necessary steps are taken."

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